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What I Learned From My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2010 About Writing Good Blog Posts

I’ve been blogging pretty seriously here for about 6 years (4 on this blog) and it always amazes me which posts take off and which ones don’t. Sometimes I’ll pour my heart into a post and it goes nowhere. Sometimes I write some little off the cuff the post and it blows up. Some of that success is serendipitous (yeah I just used that word). If the right person shares your post at the right time it can catch hold but there is still a method to the madness that we can at least heavily influence.

There are two main sources of traffic to my blog: Google search and Twitter. The one thing I will tell you is that headlines matter a lot to both. For Google you have to have good keywords for longtail traffic and for Twitter you have to have catchy titles that people want to share even if they don’t read the post (yes people on Twitter RT w/out reading) . I think of blog titles as keyword rich 1o0 character or less (have to save lots of room for retweets) summaries of your post. I will say that I have not had much pickup from Facebook (although that’s growing and I’m learning) so if you have any Facebook tips I’d love to hear them.

1 - Think Before You Tweet: The Do Not Tweet List: I’m always glad one I see this get shared again in Twitter because I still see people at companies that break these 10 rules. For this post I pulled together a few stories that I had been following and some personal experience and totally crowdsourced the list from my coworkers. This one had a strong title geared for Twitter traffic and some really strong recommendation (if I do say so myself). This is an extra special post because it’s actually my top preforming post. Even though it was only written 8 months ago it has driven more traffic than any other post.

2 - Company Forces Employee to Delete LinkedIn Profile: I was glad to see this one get some pickup because it raises an important issue that affected a friend of mine. The title was totally geared for Twitter but the content of the post with all the FINRA regulation lingo is pretty specific but a highly debated topic among financial circles. This brought a lot of new kind of readers to my post, hopefully a few of them stuck around.

3 - How to Reinvent Yourself in 3 (Not-So) Easy Steps: This is a perfect example of why every blogger should write off topic blog posts once in a while. This was totally based on my personal experience of having 10 different careers over my short lifetime. If you search for, How to reinvent yourself, on Google that post is the second result and it drives about 20-60 pageviews a day everyday since July. It has never hit hundreds of views in a single day like the rest of these posts but it consistently drives traffic every singe day. I credit this to the recession and so many people looking to do what I’ve done so many times and reinvent themselves.

4 - The 3 Types of Social Media Strategy: And here we get into the topic that I actually like writing about the most. I have written a lot about social media strategy but decided to get more granular which I always have to remind myself that people don’t like theory as much as I do, they want application. It’s a pretty simple title but plays to people’s love of numbers (FYI 3, 5 & 10 work the best) and it has the three keywords I am always trying to show up sell for: Social Media Strategy. I used to have anywhere from 3 - 5 posts show up in search for social media strategy but as the topics become the flavor of the day I’ve been pushed off the front page unless you count 2 posts I contributed to not on this blog.

5 - If It Doesn’t Happen On Twitter It Probably Doesn’t Matter: I had the pleasure of going to a conference in Mount Vernon of all places and heard Brad Nelson of Starbucks speak. I normally don’t live blog presentations but Brad’s was easy to blog and he had that great quote that was made to go viral on Twitter so I used it in the title. Plus, like my last post shows that people love to see this stuff in action and people loved having insights and examples from what Starbucks has been doing.

6 - The Evolution of New Media, Web 2.0, Social Media, Social Business: A Brief History of Everything: This was (for me) a monster of a post to write. It was long for a blog post but wasn’t that long. Most of my time was spent trying to keep it concise. My motivation in writing this post was the amount of new people entering the space everyday that didn’t have the first hand knowledge of watching things evolve over the last 5 years. My big lesson here was to never assume your readers know what you know (if they did they wouldn’t be reading your blog) and people appreciate context and history.

7 - Global Trends in Youth Media Consumption and Increased Multitasking: This was a super quick post to write. I saw a video that had some good youth media consumption stats and read a press release on the same topic from a different group and put the two together with a heavily keyword stuffed blog title. This is how a lot of my better preforming posts come together, I read a lot of stuff online and I pull a few together and draw some conclusions or point out trends. I think it’s one of the things I’m good at and I use it a lot on this blog. The thing I learned from this post is that people Marketers are ALWAYS interested in Global, Youth, Media Consumption stats. You could probably start a whole blog just on that topic.

8 - A Social Media Strategy Should Be Simple And Fluid: This one I decided to write after watching my referrer logs and seeing what people were coming to my blog looking for. I saw that people were looking for strategy templates and while I didn’t have a true template I combined that need with a lot of questions I was getting at work and decided to break down what all the ingredients of a template were and how a strategy didn’t need to be overly complicated.

9 - 3 Reasons Why Social Media is Killing Search: I got a lot of crap for writing this. Mostly because I used the word “kill” in the blog title. It’s kind of cheap trick and I don’t use it very often but I think I’m right and I think that we’re seeing evidence of that now. Search is by no means dead but the blog title “Social Media is Making People Question the Long Term Value of Traditional Search Engines” just doesn’t have the same kick to it.

10 - The Sincerity of Birthday Wishes on Facebook: Again a totally random post I wrote the day after my birthday about the observations of Facebook Birthday wishes. Having written a lot of blog posts I can write pretty decent posts in 30 minutes or less and the return always amazes me. This one actually got shared a lot on Facebook and reinforced something I already knew: If you want traffic from Twitter, write about Twitter. If you want traffic from Facebook write about Facebook.

Bonus posts:

Wikipedia is the best thing ever!: My second best performing post of all time and still came in at the top 10 for the year but wasn’t included because I didn’t write it this year (all the above posts were written this year). I wrote this one in 2007 after watching the episode of The Office where Michael Scott says: “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world, can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.” I ran to my computer and immediately ripped off a quick post about wiki’s. I put the quite as the first thing and have gone back to the post and added a video clip of the segment. Everyone searching for that quote finds my blog first and while they’re not really looking for an article on wiki’s they do still find what they’re looking for.

My GTD Moleskine Hacks: Again with the off topic more personal posts. Also technically in the top 10 but written several years ago in response to the questions I get about the Moleskine I carry everywhere with me. Good info, good keywords stuffed in the title and it picked up a lot of links from the GTD community so it still shows up strong in search although it’s starting to slip finally.

Photo credit By ntr23

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

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